Archive for August, 2009

There is a River…

Posted in Desert culture, Orthodox Christianity, religion on August 11, 2009 by blackincense


There is a river, and it flows from deep within
There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin
Come to this water; there is a vast supply
There is a river, that never shall run dry.

There was a thirsty woman,
Who was drawing from a well
You see her life was ruined and wasted
And her soul was bound for hell
Oh but then she met the Master
And He told about her sin
And he said “if you drink this water,
You’ll never thirst again.’

There is a river, and it flows from deep within
There is a fountain, that frees the soul from sin
Come to this water; there is a vast supply
There is a river, that never shall run dry.

I walked on the river today outside the apartments  and I remembered this song from childhood.  There was this woman who sang it in my church when we lived in Africa.  She was the wife of an ambassador (I cannot remember who) and she was a dedicated Christian.  She was the first person to tell me I was not stupid, I was not mentally retarded, and I was not “deaf”.  She taught me the names of all the Gospel writers and she taught me a song to memrize the books of the Bible.  Her name was in French, Amelie.

Now I am an adult and from my memory, she was a better singer than Aretha Franklin.  Truly!   I think if Aretha heard her sing, she would bow to her.

She was so dark, her skin was ebony and I thought she was the most beautful woman I had ever seen.  She wore her hair in long dread locks that dragged on the floor and she always wore these flowing African robes.  She was from Sierre Leone  and her French was better than mine.

When I first heard her sing this song, I saw her crying.  I asked her why she shed her tears and she said, “My name in Krio (native language in Sierre Leone) means Woman Who Stands At the Water. I am just like her.”

I don’t know why I remembered this today but I want to share a picture of the chapel where I first heard her sing in 1973.  Maybe it was just because I was walking along the river.  Or maybe she is prayiing for me somewhere.  I hope so.

The chapel is gone now.  And I suspect she may be dead .  Memory Eternal!



The Smell of Defeat

Posted in Arabian bakhour, bahkhoor, bakhoor, Christian incense, desert bakhoor incense, Incense, Orthodox Christianity, perfume on August 10, 2009 by blackincense

There comes a time in every artist’s life when they are forced to admit defeat.  The medium defeats the artist’s best effort and they are forced to abandn the project.  I pulled the trays this morning, and uncovered them.  I checked on them tow weeks ago and I thought that the notes were off but I wanted to wait and see.  This morning, the nose rebelled and I had to admit that the fragrance I had so carefully blended was just…well….bad.

I was trying for a spicy oudh, a somewhat heavy Oriental.  What I ended up with was somewhere in the nieghborhood of  burning cardbord, with basenotes of sulfur, and a middle note of burnt flour.

With materials priced at a premium, even at below wholesale, I have been forced to cut back severly on my experimental projects.  Now I am back to the glass tubes to re-formulate and wait again.  The cones I had originally wanted to release at the beginning of summer, along with the bakhoors will have to wait until spring.  I can’t justify using large quantities of (in thhe most recent case, wasting)  precious oils during this economic crisis.

I feel guilty for even trying.  People cannot afford food, rent and many are homeless.  I have decided to donate 20 percent of every sale to my local food bank until this crisis is over, so other than tiny experiments, I won’t be releasing anything new on a wide scale, simply because I can’t afford the cost of production.

So it is all the usual for now, at  No frills.  No changes.  No nonsense.  Just the same beautiful incense.

Love to all,


I surrender to You, O Lord, and admit my unworthiness.  Lord, Jesus Christ, haver mercy on all those who suffer, who are hungry, wounded and hurting from the world.  Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.